Some of the best memories from Goa often include sipping incredibly discounted alcohol with your feet buried in the soft sand, watching the sun go down. Come November, this may not be possible! Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in a recently concluded Swachch Bharat function stated that “If someone wants to drink (liquor), they should drink inside and not in public places. In the next 15 days, I will hold meetings with government officials to ban the consumption of liquor at public places”.
Alcohol Policies and Regulations around the world
There has always been a healthy debate on the laws and social customs governing the public consumption of alcohol. Countries around the world have dealt with this issue in different ways. There have been 3-4 broad approaches that local bodies seem to have followed –
- Introducing alcohol-free zones – Countries such as Sweden, New Zealand and a few cities in Australia have declared a few areas as alcohol free. Typically such areas include city centres, educational institutions, parks, religious premises and public transport facilities, etc.
- Largely illegal with some exceptions – Many cities in the USA such as Las Vegas, New Orleans have been exempted from a liquor ban. Exceptions have also been made for social events such as tailgating parties, etc.
- Open container policy – In many countries, possession of open alcohol containers are enough proof of public consumption of alcohol. In such areas, the police officials have the freedom to confiscate such containers and collect fines.
- Public drinking legalized – Countries such as Switzerland, England and Wales, France, Brazil and Austria, etc have legalized the consumption of alcohol in public for individuals above the permitted age limit.
What triggered the ban in Goa?
Goa is a favourite for party lovers for obvious reasons. Tourism being the primary industry, many beach shacks and liquor shops have mushroomed in and around the popular tourist spots. This has increased the consumption of alcohol. Many locals have raised concerns over the number of bottles and broken glass pieces found on the beaches and streets. This has not only affected the cleanliness and safety of the beaches but has also greatly impacted the fishing business. Furthermore, many locals have also complained about the nuisance caused by misbehaving drunken tourists, especially domestic tourists.
What does the ban entail?
Public spaces generally include streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches and stadiums. With Parrikar’s ban in place, licenses of liquor shops will stand cancelled if people are found drinking near its premises. The local bodies of Goa are yet to make public the information about the extent of the ban, the exceptions if any and the fines applicable. How this ban affects the tourism industry in Goa is something that we will have to wait and watch.